Describing the world: exhibitions, a site, a project

The project

The project Describing the World was initiated on the occasion of a collective installation which was presented at the Cultural Center Antonelli in Turin from March 21st to July 21st 2015. The organization of this exhibition provided the opportunity to establish a site under the same name and for a project whose aim is to bring authors coming from various countries and whose experience in literary and artistic forms are also different together around the notion of describing the world.

Such a notion implies also a general questioning about extra-literary and extra-artistic materials which help describe the world and which can feed by different means invention or literary or artistic expression. The importance of the link between descriptions and materials has already been seen in the well-known notes of Wittgenstein (in the Tractatus logico-philosophicus) according to which any description (any picture of the world) is also an event in the world. Hence the world must be considered as a huge deposit of descriptions of the world.

The exhibition

The first idea was to ask a certain number of writers – most of them poets – to help “describe the world” using three kinds of documents belonging to “analogical” techniques : the original page of a printed book, a photograph taken from a film using an analogical camera and a sheaf of paper with a hand written or typed text or a drawing on it. Each document was considered to be a specific description of the world. Added to these two-dimensional documents we later had description-objects (tri-dimensional documents) and audio-documents referring to the radiophonic technique of describing the world.

Once the project had been conceived, I asked four Italian artists (Vittorio Passero, Gianluca Codeghini, Lorenzo Casali and Micol Roubini) to help me prepare the exhibition. One objective was to present an installation of objects, pictures, texts and sounds which had to be perceived as a whole, as a united structure. Consequently, this setting of materials did not permit viewers to immediately recognize the name or signature of the authors who had sent them. I conceived the site Describing the world at the same time so that the pictures or audio-files of all the materials presented at the exhibition could be preserved and catalogued, this time according to the names of their authors.

The site

The site itself is meant to be considered as a collective installation of images, sounds and texts in constant evolution. It is articulated on three levels. First the contributions to the exhibition, i.e. the record of all the authors and documents presented during the exhibition. Then the contributions to the site. In that case some authors are invited to present punctual contributions to the site. All forms are welcome. Still there is a question that limits that opening or expanding horizon: What are the materials (the languages, the images, the sounds) nourishing our plans to invent the world? Lastly, the third level is called catalogues and regards either the documentation about the project or the work for a theoretical and critical thinking about the various concepts emerging from our research.